BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department continues to monitor an ongoing outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in wild deer herds, department staff said Wednesday, Sept. 22. To date, the most heavily affected area is along a portion of the Missouri River extending from just south of Bismarck-Mandan to the Garrison Dam, as well as a smaller area near Williston.

“With the help of public reports, we are able to get a pretty good idea on where the outbreak is occurring,” said Casey Anderson, wildlife chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck. “Tracking an outbreak like this would not be possible without the public's involvement.”

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Spread by a biting midge, EHD is a naturally occurring virus that is often fatal to white-tailed deer, and less commonly to mule deer, pronghorn and elk. Humans are not susceptible to the virus.

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Based on the reports of whitetail mortality attributed to EHD, Game and Fish is offering refunds for bow hunters participating in a special herd reduction season in south Bismarck-Mandan and northern Burleigh County who would like to return their licenses.

EHD outbreaks rapidly slow after a series of hard frosts kill the midge that transmits the virus. Department personnel will monitor reports they receive through the opening weekend of pheasant season. They then will determine hunting units where the severity of the outbreak warrants refunds for gun season hunters who want to return their licenses.

The public is asked to continue reporting any dead deer to the Game and Fish Department through the online wildlife mortality reporting system at gf.nd.gov/mortality-report.